Celyad SA/NV (EURONEXT Brussels and Paris, and NASDAQ: CYAD), a leader in the discovery and development of CAR-T cell therapies, today announced the initiation of the SHRINK trial, a third clinical trial with its lead product candidate CYAD-01 (CAR-T NKG2D), targeting metastatic colorectal patients.
SHRINK (Standard CHemotherapy Regimen and Immunotherapy with NKR-2) is an open-label Phase I study evaluating the safety and clinical activity of multiple doses of CYAD-01, administered concurrently with the neoadjuvant FOLFOX treatment in patients with potentially resectable liver metastases from colorectal cancer.
Dr. Christian Homsy, CEO of Celyad commented: “We are happy to start the SHRINK trial as it will allow us to evaluate the efficiency of our promising CYAD-01 therapy in combination with chemotherapy. We are confident that our partnership with key Belgian cancer institutions will provide us with new insights in the treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer. Today’s announcement, in conjunction with our ongoing THINK trial and the upcoming LINK study, reaffirms our commitment and dedication to beat cancer with a strong focus on solid tumors.”
Dr. Frédéric Lehmann, VP Clinical Development and Medical Affairs at Celyad added: “As leaders in our field, it is our task to further develop the potential of our CAR-T treatments. Starting SHRINK is another important milestone for us and for patients worldwide, evaluating the synergetic effect of the concurrent administration of our lead candidate CYAD-01 with standard chemotherapy as first-line treatment for metastatic colorectal cancers. We now look forward to the first infusion of a colorectal patient in the coming weeks and to the registration of other patients. The SHRINK study is one of the new Celyad studies to be initiated in 2017 as part of a global comprehensive clinical program supporting the development of our CYAD-01 candidate.”
SHRINK will be conducted in Belgium in key oncology centers. It contains a dose escalation and an extension stage. The dose escalation design will include three dose levels adjusted to body weight: up to 3x108, 1x109 and 3x109 of CYAD-01. At each dose, the patients will receive three successive administrations, two weeks apart at the specified dose. The dose escalation part of the study will enroll up to 18 patients while the extension phase would enroll 21 additional patients.
The colorectal cancer indication evaluated in the SHRINK trial was selected based on evidence generated in the pre-clinical settings and in the ongoing THINK study.
SHRINK is Celyad’s third clinical trial of its CYAD-01 product candidate, a CAR-T cell therapy using NKG2D ligands as a target. The two other trials are CM-CS1 (completed) and THINK (ongoing).
Celyad is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of specialized CAR-T cell based therapies. The company utilizes its expertise in cell engineering to target cancer. Celyad’s Natural Killer Receptor based T-Cell (NKR-T) platform has the potential to treat a broad range of solid and hematologic tumors. Its lead oncology candidate, the CAR-T NKR-2, has been evaluated in a single dose escalation Phase I clinical trial to assess the safety and feasibility of CAR-T NKR-2 cells in patients suffering from AML or MM. This Phase I study was successfully completed in September 2016. Celyad was founded in 2007 and is based in Mont-Saint-Guibert, Belgium, and Boston, Massachusetts. Celyad’s ordinary shares are listed on the Euronext Brussels and Euronext Paris exchanges, and its American Depository Shares are listed on NASDAQ Global Market, all under the ticker symbol CYAD.
For more information about Celyad, please visit: www.celyad.com
About Celyad’s NKR-T Cell Platform
Celyad is developing a unique CAR-T cell platform, using Natural Killer Receptor (NKR) transduced on to T lymphocytes. The platform targets a wide range of solid and hematological tumors. Unlike traditional CAR-T cell therapy, which target only one tumor antigen, Natural Killer (NK) cell receptors enable a single receptor to recognize multiple tumor antigens.
Celyad’s lead candidate, CAR-T NKR-2, is a CAR-T-Cell engineered to express the human NK receptor, NKG2D, which is an activating receptor. CAR-T NKR-2 triggers cell killing through the binding of NKG2D to any of eight naturally occurring ligands that are known to be overexpressed on more than 80% of tumors.
Preclinical results indicate that CAR-T NKR-2 has multiple mechanisms of actions and goes beyond direct cancer cell killing. It inhibits the mechanisms that enable tumors to evade the immune system, activates and recruit anti-tumor immune cells and disrupts the blood supply to the tumor. These mechanisms promote the induction of adaptive immunity, meaning the development of a long-term immune memory against specific tumor antigens of the targeted tumor.
In contrast to traditional CAR-T therapeutic approaches, and based on strong preclinical evidence, Celyad’s current CAR-T NKR-2 program does not use patient lymphodepleting pre-conditioning, thereby avoiding the toxicities associated with chemotherapy and allowing the immune system to remain intact.
Celyad is developing both autologous and allogeneic CAR-T NKR-2 approaches. For autologous CAR-T NKR-2, Celyad collects the patient’s own T-Cells and engineers them to express NKG2D in order to target cancer cells effectively. Celyad’s allogeneic platform engineers the T-Cells of healthy donors, to also express TCR Inhibitory Molecules (TIMs), to avoid having the donor cells rejected by the patient’s normal tissues (also called Graft vs. Host Disease).
The preclinical research underlying this technology was originally conducted at Dartmouth College by Dr. Charles Sentman and has been published extensively in peer-reviewed publications.